What makes a game good?
- A sense of achievement. This can be recognised 'stages' of gameplay, measured score, moral reward, or an unlocking of more content in the game environment.
- "Bargain!" - the feeling that the game is value for money, and has potential to lasts a long time, such that the player does not think about when the experience will end.
- Inspiring a sense of awe from the presentation (graphics are a little more than one can fully take in), and conceptual immersion (the environment itself is awe-inspiring, either technologically or immersively).
- Engagement: the feeling that the player can make a big difference to a complex siutation.
- The appropriate learning curve: is it adaptable to the players, so that they are challenged but not alienated and without hope.
- Any action or threat is well-paced, so that it is never constant, but varied in a way that has maximum impact and engagement.
- A suitable environment for (multiplayer) social interaction, to add fluid intelligence to the feedback that computer-controlled players cannot (yet) provide, and to extend existing friendships into the activity to enrich their common experiences.
- An interface that is not a barrier for the user, but is instead intuitive and helpful, like an extension of one's own nervous system or limbs.
- Fashionable ownership of a recognised asset. This one deserves some explanation: it is the 'me too' aspect of game ownership, when people in the key demographic generally acknowledge that a game would be good to own, for whom talking about it earns social kudos. Although we might at first think that only a marketing exercise can make a game 'cool', we think it's possible to design a game this way, so that it has slowly-uncovered features (so that there's something emergent to talk about), and a social aspect (multiplayer).
- Are there many games that tick all these boxes?
- Are there any games that tick most boxes, but frustratingly fail in others?
- Are there any more boxes?
- Finally, What is the minimum we can do to evoke this in the player?